Wednesday, December 5, 2012

"Grammar Heroes:" Great Grammar Review Activity for ESL/EFL classrooms

Hi everyone, I want to introduce a  great group grammar review activity for the ESL classroom.  It helps to get students working as a group and engages them with content in an unconventional way. I found it to be very engaging and interesting for my adult ESL class. It could also be used in the beginning of a unit for ESL classes as well.

I want to make sure I give credit where credit is due. A colleague of mine, Dr. Carolina Correa, gave me the inspiration for the framework of this lesson (i.e. the posters, grammar tenses, etc.)  I added the superhero element and the idea of powers, exploits, mission, etc.  She is a wonderful teacher and a great inspiration for creativity in the ESL classroom.

Below is the sheet that explains the teacher instructions and student instructions as well.

"Grammar Heroes" Teacher/Student Instructions

The formatting may look off, but should be okay when you bring it up in MS Word.

Here are some examples from my Adult ESL class.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday, October 15, 2012

Verb Tense Card Game

This game is to review all of the tenses. Download the Worksheet

1. Use playing cards and remove the ace.
2. Set up each suit of cards to correspond with a verb ( should be an action verb). Can be irregular. Hearts = Go, etc.
3. Have students work in groups of 3 or 4 with one suit of cards. One group gets hearts, one spades, etc.
4. If the student gets the face card, they must make a corresponding sentence. If they get it right, they keep the card.
5. If they get it wrong, then they must replace the card in the deck.
6. The student with the most cards at the end of the round wins.
6. To make it more difficult, you can shuffle all of the decks together. Then, students will have to make different verbs with different cards and different tenses.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Best iPad Apps for ESL Teachers #14 - Explain Everything

Click To Download
Explain evrything is a great screencasting app because it allows you to make narrated slideshows, import from Dropbox, PDF, PPT, Word, Etc. Also, you can Zoom in and out during the presentation, change the color and  size of your pen, and more. You can rotate your file as well and change the orientation. You can also narrate a live web page as you annotate it. You can immediately upload to Youtube and dropbox as well.

It costs $2.99, but I think it's well worth it.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

American Slang #5

Best iPad Apps for ESL Teachers #13- ToonTastic

Click to Download.
Toontastic is a very fun app that  students can use to create cartoons with background music and animate them with their voices. It helps students understand plot elements while giving them a chance to be creative in English class.

This has great capability for narration, drama, and other forms of motivation-inspiring presentations and class work. Students could work together to make a script and act it out, focusing on their pronunciation and intonation more than speaking in front of class.

The example below is long and kind of silly, but at least it gives you the chance to see what you can do on this cool app.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

American Slang #1

Here are a few random slang words, I will release more of these videos to tell the meaning and pronunciation of some popular slang words in America.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Best iPad Apps for ESL Teachers #12- Prezi Viewer

All of us know the feeling when presentation days come for our students. They can go one of two ways - great or ghastly.  If the prseentations are good, we can't wait to hear more, but if they are bad, we can't wait until they're done. Here is an app that can help with this problem.

Prezi is an awesome presentation tool that can liven up any dead presentations. Instead of using a slide by slide format like powerpoint, Prezi has a 3D interface that pans in and out of a field.  This means you can do really cool effects like zooming, sliding across, panning out, and more. You can upload pictures, Youtube videos, powerpoints, etc.

The results are impressive and can be seen at Prezi's website.   The app here is for the Prezi viewer, which allows you to use your iPad to view any prezi you have created online. It doesn't allow you to create a Prezi, but it is a great tool to use when you want a lively presentation from your iPad.

If you or your students have an .edu or k12 extension email, you can get a lot of extra storage space for your and your students' prezis. They call this the educational license.  I recommend setting up an account for student  presentations. They can upload them from home and then present them on your iPad if you are the only one who has one.  

 If you are interested in more iPad apps for ESL teachers. Please see my post below.

Best iPad Apps for ESL Teachers

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Writing: How to Brainstorm with a Web

Webs are one great way to brainstorm topics for a paper, presentation, or other topic.
Here is a quick tutorial on how to brainstorm with the web.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Best iPad Apps for ESL Teachers #11- Slideshark

Click to Download
Slideshark is a great resource for teachers and students who want to use their iPad to give Powerpoint presentations as smoothly as possible. Slideshark allows you to upload your slideshows online and then use your iPad to present them.

This is a great app for those who have tons of powerpoints already made that don't want to redo them all when they have to use their iPad for a presentation. Another good thing about the app is that the transitions remain on each slide, so you are able to keep the presentation intact.

Click here to see a list of all iPad apps for ESL teachers.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

How to Start an English Essay: The Hook- Get the Attention of Your Audience

Here are five ways to get the attention of your audience when you begin a presentation or a paper. You should almost never start out the paper with your exact main idea. You want to get the audience's attention first. In order to do that, you need to "hook" them by using a few different methods. I have come up with a handy acronym to represent those possible hooks. It is called FIQSO, and  you can see it demonstrated in the video below.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Movie Trailer ESL Grammar - Amazing Spider Man (Adverb Clauses-Cause and Effect)

This is an ESL lesson based on the use of Adverb Clauses and Cause and Effect. It uses discussion, listening, and grammar to help students to understand Adverb Clauses.  I have updated so that you do not have to sign up to download worksheets. If you like this one, check out the Avengers ESL Adjective Clause Activity.

Adverb Clause Worksheet - Click Here.

If you like this, try more:

Man of Steel ESL Classroom Activity
Avengers ESL Classroom Activity
Jack and the Giant Killer ESL activity
Snow White and the Huntsman ESL activity
Dark Knight Rises ESL Activity

Monday, June 18, 2012

Best English Listening Websites

Here is a quick run down of all of my favorite listening websites for English learners.  Please be sure to check out my top ESL listening activities here on the ESL Commando too!  Enjoy!
  1. ELLLO - English Listening Lab Online. 
  2. Randall's Lab - Great Main Ideas and cloze exercises
  3. Lyrics Training - Learn English through songs. Check out my full review HERE. 
  4. ESL Video - Learn English through TV and movie clips.
  5. Vocabulary and Spelling City - Listening/Spelling Practice and more!
  6. Many Things - Great for pronunciation and listening for vowels and consonants.
  7. Movie Segments for Warm Ups Follow Ups - Great classroom listening for a group.
  8. Movie Segments for Assessing Grammar Goals - Listening for grammar points in a classroom. 
  9. Listen and Write - Full and Partial Cloze Exercises based on interviews, music, movies, etc.
  10. VOA Special English - Modified English Listening for different levels based on interesting news stories.
  11. BBC Learning English - A great resource with listening, grammar, pronunciation, and classroom exercises. Great for teachers and students alike. 
  12. ESL Commando - If I do say so myself. Many grammar, writing, and pronunciation tutorials for all ESL students. Check out my new resource, English Video Discussions for great short videos that students and teachers can use to create discussions. 
  13. British Council - A lot of interesting activities and video clips to help learn British English.
  14. Breaking News English - Very good listening activities for the classroom. Entire lesson plans, guides, and student packets available. 
  15. English Central - Practice with pronunciation and listening to TV clips.
  16. VoScreen - Great practice to translate English listening to your native language. Not all native language are supported, but most Indo-European languages and Arabic are.  
  17. PBS Video - Excellent listening practice to learn how Americans (and some British) speak for both teachers and students. Many videos on FRONTLINE have teaching lessons associated with them and transcripts (written words) for the videos. Best of all, it is all free! 
  18. Engvid - Great English instructional videos, quizzes, and practice! 
  19. Rachel's English - a very popular and helpful listening and pronunciation site for ESL learners with great tips and information.
  20. Iowa State Pronunciation Guide  - Practice listening to how all of the vowels and consonants sound in English. 
  21. Duolingo - Start in your native language and play games, get points, increase your vocabulary and improve your pronunciation too!
  22. Memrise - Similar to Duolingo, but has some different features you may like!
  23. Learning Chocolate - A basic, but fun English learning website that lets you practice listening with vocabulary. 
(This post contains affiliate links. See disclosure here)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Top Ten Tips on How to Write an Argument Essay

Before getting into the top ten tips, it is important to understand the structure of an argument essay.
Here's the breakdown for the organization of an argument (For a video explaining the organization, click here.)

Introduction: Hook (Attention Grabber), Background Information, Main Idea (Thesis with points(optional))

Body: Main Points Paragraphs (topic sentence, supporting details, concluding sentence in each one).

Counterargument/Refutation: One paragraph stating the opposing viewpoint, then reproving your main point.

Conclusion: Summarizing your points and finally stating why your position is the most reasonable. Can end with a quote, anecdote, story, suggestion, or prediction.

Click here for a Free Argument Tutorial Download

Top Ten Hints for Arguments -

  1. Use strong modals for your arguments (should, must, have to, supposed to). 
  2. Use weak modals for your opponent's arguments (may, might, could, etc.).
  3. Don't make a point without evidence. Just because you think something is true doesn't make it so. 
  4. Don't tear down another's argument without using logic and stating why they are logically incorrect.
  5. Avoid Logical Fallacies.  
  6. Don't get personal - "Anyone who believes that is stupid."
  7. Avoid "I" unless you're giving a story, example, etc. in the introduction or conclusion. 
  8. We already know what you think because of your modals. "People should" is just as good as "I think people should."  
  9. Check your sources, make sure that they are reliable. Web sources that include a .org or .edu are usually more reliable than a .com.
  10. Instead of using as a source check the footnotes at the bottom and find the sources of the wikipedia article. In this way, you get the info closer to the original source.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Movie Trailer ESL Listening - The Amazing Spider Man

Gotta love Marvel Movies, first the Avengers, now Spider-Man. Check out this fun listening activity with Spider Man! If you like this one, check out Snow White and the Huntsman listening activity!

Friday, June 8, 2012

ESL Online Games - Syllable Stress Game #2

Simply drop the word into the garbage bin based on which syllable is stressed, whether it is the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd syllable. You can also try my other Syllable Stress Game if you like this one.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Movie Trailer ESL Listening - Snow White and The Huntsman

Here is a simple trailer exercise to practice listening from "Snow White and The Huntsman." This is probably easier than intermediate, but I hope you enjoy it. You might also like the Avengers listening activity.

Monday, June 4, 2012

ESL Online Games: Syllable Stress Game

Simply choose a game type to play. I like Word Shoot.

How to play:  Shoot the correct stressed syllable for the word on the bottom before time runs out.  Each answer will be the stressed syllable for that particular word.

Example:  Production, answer "DUC".  Try it out. I think you'll like it. You can also try my 1,2,3 syllable game if you like this one.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Best iPad Apps for ESL Teachers #10 - Socrative

Click To Download

Socrative is an excellent app that allows students to use their iPads, iPhones, or other devices as clickers, responding to prompt, quizzes or pre-made games created by the teacher.

This is a great app because almost all students now have a smartphone, a laptop, or a tablet, and Socrative allows access from almost any web enabled device.

It can be used for book exercises, tense practice, spelling, etc. There are so many uses for it. Try it out and you'll like it. Best of all, it's free.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Movie Trailer ESL Grammar - The Bourne Legacy (Modals of Obligation/Expectation)

This is one of my favorite movie series of all time.  It is about a spy who has now been betrayed by his government. It is very exciting and engaging. Included below is a downloadable worksheet that focuses on modals of obligation and expectation like should, must, be supposed to, have to, etc. If you like this, try the Hunger Games ESL Lesson or the Avengers ESL Lesson.

 Here is a link to the Classroom Worksheet for Teachers. No Signup required. You can preview it below.

View more documents from phricee

Should, Must, has to...etc.
The first page is just listening and speaking, so it could be used without the second page. If you like this activity, check out these too!

Man of Steel ESL Classroom Activity
Avengers ESL Classroom Activity
Jack and the Giant Killer ESL activity
Snow White and the Huntsman ESL activity
Dark Knight Rises ESL Activity

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Best iPad Apps for ESL Teachers #9 - VoiceThread

Click To Download
VoiceThread is a great app for ESL teachers because it allows them to upload one or multiple photos/images and have students comment on them using text, telephone, webcam, document upload, and microphone.  It can also allow students to annotate the photo while they are talking and use their webcam to show themselves during commentary. This allows for many positive ways for students to use their English outside of the classroom.

VoiceThreads can be emailed, exported, or embedded to any blog or website. Here a couple quick ways you can use it in your ESL class.

1) For lower levels, pick a picture that relates to a unit you are studying and have students identify objects in the picture.

2) For higher levels, choose a content based picture and ask students to tell you what the people might be thinking in the picture.

3) Ask students to do a storyline by using more than one picture and multiple commentaries. Each student can add to another student's part of the story until all of the pictures are completed.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Modals - Necessity

How to use must, have to, and have got to.

More Modals Videos and Activities - Click Here

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Movie Trailer ESL Grammar - The Avengers (Adjective Clauses)

This is a lesson on restrictive and non-restrictive adjective clauses using the trailer for the Avengers. Just download and print the worksheet, distribute, and play the trailer for the class. The downloadable worksheet formatting may look off, but it will be fine once you download it to Word.  You can also try the Hunger Games ESL Lesson or the Bourne Legacy Listening Activity and the NEW Man of Steel Classroom Activity.

Download the Worksheet here - No signup required.  Preview Below. Formatting looks off but will be okay when you download.

View more documents from phricee.

Gerunds and Infinitives - Object of the Preposition.

How to know when to use a gerund or an infinitive when using prepositions.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Modals - Advisability / Present

How to use modals of advisability: should or ought to in the present tense.

For More Modals Videos and Activities - Click Here

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Modals - Obligation

How to use the modal of obligation - "Be supposed to"

For More Modals Videos and Activities - Click Here

Friday, April 27, 2012

Best iPad Apps for ESL Teachers #8 - AppsGoneFree

Click To Download

This app is not particularly a language app, but it can be very useful to find new and exciting tools for language teaching and learning. Honestly, even ESL teachers need a free game once in a while too.

I have found many apps that I can use both recreationally and educationally through this app. It almost always has a photo app, a  word game app, or a puzzle game of some kind.

Each day there is a new list of apps gone free, so if you don't find anything one day, you will probably find one the next.

For info on other apps, check these other posts.

Apps for ESL/Language teachers.
  1. Evernote
  2. Skitch
  3. Flashcardlet
  4. CloudOn
  5. ShowMe
  6. DropMind Lite
  7. MailVu
  8. AppsGoneFree
  9. VoiceThread

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Modals - Certainty / Present

How to use modals of certainty in the present tense.

For More Modals Videos and Activities - Click Here

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Modals- Certainty / Past Negative

Here is my quick tutorial on modals of certainty, past negative. Check out more modals tutorials on the "All Posts" section on the left side of the blog.

For More Modals Videos and Activities - Click Here

Monday, April 23, 2012

Best iPad Apps for ESL Teachers #7 - MailVu

Click To Download

Would you like to send video email in one click from your iPad?  Now you can, easily and quickly with MailVu. Making video mail is a two step process with MailVu.  Record video, and send email.  No Youtube uploads or confusing steps to go through. In addition, the video mail is retractable, available on a PC account,  and stored on MailVu account servers, so up to 10 minutes of video can be sent, which is not possible in regular email accounts.

MailVu is a great tool for communcating with students and helping them to improve pronunciation, speaking, and even listening skills. I use it in my Listening and Speaking classes so that I can see as well as hear students' homework.

Below you can see the simplicity of this app. The pic shows the iPhone version, but the iPad is the same.

Here are some quick ideas for MailVu in a listening/speaking context:
  1. Assigning Work: Instead of repeating yourself over and over again in class, just send out a MailVu/post a link to it in your Edmodo/Facebook/Twitter/etc.    
  2. Homework: Students can practice tongue twisters, free speaking, or comprehension responses on MailVu. That way you can see their enunciation as well as hear their speech. 
  3. Collaboration: Students can use MailVu to cooperate and collaborate with each other.
  4. Presentations:  Students can use the press/record/send ease of functionality to prepare, present, share their presentations quickly with others in a different environment than the traditional classroom.
Please comment and let me know what apps are useful to you and check other apps I use below.

  1. Evernote
  2. Skitch
  3. Flashcardlet
  4. CloudOn
  5. ShowMe
  6. DropMind Lite
  7. MailVu
  8. AppsGoneFree
  9. VoiceThread
For an iPad apps presentation, click HERE.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Best iPad Apps for ESL Teachers #6 - Dropmind Lite

Click to Download
Mindmaps are  very useful tools for many students, whether they are used for vocabulary, grammar, writing concepts, or basically any subject that could be learned easier by visualizing information.

DropMind is an app that allows students to create custom mindmaps using various colors,shapes, fonts, and designs.  The "Lite" version is free and is pretty capable for students' needs.

I like it for creating outlines of various essay forms, vocabulary connections, grammar points, etc.  Students have some area for creativity in using this app, and it could be helpful for those students who are visual learners. For an example of a mindmap that I have done, please click HERE.

If you want  more useful iPad Apps, check out my Best iPad Apps Overview Presentation, and check these out.

Apps for ESL/Language teachers.
  1. Evernote
  2. Skitch
  3. Flashcardlet
  4. CloudOn
  5. ShowMe
  6. DropMind Lite
  7. MailVu
  8. AppsGoneFree
  9. VoiceThread

Please comment and let me know what apps you like to use for ESL teaching/learning.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Writing - How to write a five paragraph essay diagram

Here's a quick illustration of the major parts of the five paragraph essay. The intro is one paragraph, the body is three paragraphs, and the conclusion is one.  You can also check out the video tutorial with more detail on the parts of the five paragraph essay by clicking  here.

Modals- Lack of Necessity/Prohibition

How to use Modals for lack of necessity and prohibition (Don't Have To and Must Not).

For More Modals Videos and Activities - Click Here

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Best iPad Apps for ESL Teachers #5 - ShowMe

Click to Download
ShowMe is one of my favorite iPad apps because it allows the user to narrate a picture, text, etc., and draw on the whiteboard at the same time. This has endless uses for language teachers, but here are a few that I came up with.

1)  Create an online lesson for an in-class topic. Record the main ideas of your lesson and give students a link or post your creation to an online social media site.

2)  Have students create a narrated visual presentation on a topic using your/their iPad and show it in class as opposed to a "stand in front of the class" type presentation.

3)  Create a Vocab Map using Skitch (see below) and ShowMe together.  Pick a picture that is related to a topic you are teaching and annotate it with Skitch  showing the vocabulary for the picture. Then, upload the photo and use it on ShowMe to narrate and pronounce the vocab. Click HERE for an example.

4) Download the presentation and upload it to YouTube so students have instant access to your ShowMes!

These are just a few uses for ShowMe.  I use it all the time, and I'm sure that you will too once you get used to it.

Other Apps for ESL/Language teachers.
  1. Evernote
  2. Skitch
  3. Flashcardlet
  4. CloudOn
  5. ShowMe
  6. DropMind Lite
  7. MailVu
  8. AppsGoneFree
  9. VoiceThread

Do you have any apps to add? Please comment and let me know about any that you use regularly and how you use them!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Best iPad Apps for ESL Teachers #4 - CloudOn

Click to Download
Cloudon is a great app for teachers and students who want to have access to MS Word, Powerpoint, and Excel programs from their iPad.

This app has most of the features of these programs and allows you to download to DropBox, which is an online storage app where you can always access your files, no matter where you are.

The pros of this app are that it is free, you can upload from/download to DropBox, it has a similar interface to MS Office programs for those who are used to them, the files you make on the iPad can be opened on MS Office from a PC, and it allows for slide making on the go.

For those students who may have an iPad but not a laptop/PC with MS Office and who are at a disadvantage in presentations, this could be a great help because students can use the ppt format on their iPad and upload them onto the PC through DropBox.

Check Out my overview of iPad apps HERE.

Here are some other apps that may be of use to you also.

Apps for ESL/Language teachers.
  1. Evernote
  2. Skitch
  3. Flashcardlet
  4. CloudOn
  5. ShowMe
  6. DropMind Lite
  7. MailVu
  8. AppsGoneFree
  9. VoiceThread

Do you have any apps to add? Please comment and let me know about any that you use regularly and how you use them!

Modals - Certainty/Future Time

How to use Future Time Modals.

For More Modals Videos and Activities - Click Here

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Best iPad Apps for ESL Teachers #3 - Flashcardlet

Flashcardlet  gets my vote for the best flashcard application on the iPad and for the web.This is because it works in conjunction with (For my post on Quizlet, click here). The app itself is simple and has notecard-looking flashcards that students can use to study anything.

Click to Download
Students can create flashcards, add pictures to them, study them, keep count of how many they got right or wrong, shuffle, and change the order of the flashcards. Working together with Quizlet, this makes it one of the more powerful iPad flashcard apps because its use is not limited to those with an iPad.

Students can create flashcards on the web and use them on Flashcardlet or vice versa. If you are interested in learning about more iPad apps that are useful for ESL teachers, click HERE.

Other apps for ESL/Language teachers.
  1. Evernote
  2. Skitch
  3. Flashcardlet
  4. CloudOn
  5. ShowMe
  6. DropMind Lite
  7. MailVu
  8. AppsGoneFree
  9. VoiceThread

Friday, April 13, 2012

Modals - Would vs. Used To

How to use the Modals: Would or Used To.

For More Modals Videos and Activities - Click Here

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Best iPad Apps for ESL Teachers #2 - Skitch

Click to Download
Skitch is a great app for making drawings, mock-ups, diagrams, etc.
I personally like to use it in conjunction with ShowMe, which I will talk about in a later post.  

As an ESL teacher, I like Skitch because it has elegant text, arrows, and writing capabilities that allow for professional looking presentations.  You can take snapshots of webpages, use camera roll photos, create new blank pages and more. 

So, here are some quick uses for Skitch. 

1)  Make a vocab map.  What I do with my iPad is download a wallpaper related to a unit of interest (i.e. Mountains). Then, I go ahead and use arrows and text in Skitch to show vocabulary on the picture. This is a great feature for lower level teachers who need their students to visualize vocabulary. Click here for an example. 

2) Make an instruction map.  Take a snapshot of a webpage and show students where they need to click in order to register, get a login, etc.

3) Annotate a student's paper.  You can use the draw feature after you have taken a picture of a students work and then write your comments or use text to do so.  

4) Sync with Evernote Trunk and add audio to your comments on a student's paper. 

5) Create a classroom picture for substitutes. You can take a picture of your class, type in the students' names, and then give it to a sub on their email the day you can't be there.

These are just a few quick uses for Skitch, and I'm sure you can think of more. Please comment below and let me know how you use Skitch!

Here are some other apps you may like...

Apps for ESL/Language teachers.
  1. Evernote
  2. Skitch
  3. Flashcardlet
  4. CloudOn
  5. ShowMe
  6. DropMind Lite
  7. MailVu
  8. AppsGoneFree
  9. VoiceThread

Do you have any apps to add? Please comment and let me know about any that you use regularly and how you use them!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Build English Vocabulary - Feed the Hungry!

I love this website:

This is an excellent way for students to build academic and high level vocabulary (or even low level) vocab while sending rice to impoverished nations. The student is given a word and then asked for a multiple choice answer for the definition.  10 grains of rice are donated for every correct definition given. The site is adaptive, so words will get harder or easier depending on ability. So, students at lower levels can still play it!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Modals - Certainty Present Time Negative

Here is a quick tutorial lesson the negative modal forms of certainty. I will be posting about 10-12 modal tutorials in the next couple of weeks, so keep your eyes out on the left "All Posts" area for many more modal instruction tutorials.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Movie Trailer ESL Speaking and Listening - The Hunger Games

Attached is a worksheet that could be used for almost any level Listening Speaking Class.  It includes an opening discussion, True/False listening, and then a short activation activity for speaking.  You can also check out the Grammar Activity for the Hunger Games  or the Hunger Games Listening Quiz on this blog.  Click on the Blue text to download the worksheet. You may also like The Avengers ESL lesson.

Download the Worksheet -Click Here! No signup required. Preview below.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Icebreakers for ELLs - Human Scavenger Hunt

Here is a great ESL icebreaker activity to get students talking, listening, and getting to know each other.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Movie Trailer ESL Grammar Activity - The Hunger Games ESL Lesson

This activity uses listening and the Hunger Games to help students practice the unreal conditional in here  to download, or look below to preview the worksheet. Please also check out new Catching Fire Activities. 
The "If...then" format is used, and students will love to watch the exciting clip of the Hunger Games! This activity gives practice on listening for details, writing sentences,  and then writing a short paragraph. The worksheet  that goes along with the video is downloadable and is below the clip.The formatting looks wrong on the example, but when downloaded into Word, it will look right.  If you like this, please try out the NEW Man of Steel Classroom Activity!

Best Flashcard App

I must say that I think that has won my vote for the best flashcard application on the web. In quizlet, you can create flashcards like any other app. However, the cool things that Quizlet does with your flashcards after you make them is what sets this app apart.

For one, it allows students to play matching games with the words and definitions. It also has a typing race, where students type the words that match the definition. It also gives the audio for many words in 18 languages! Finally, the vocab can be uploaded to mobile platforms like the iPad, iPhone, or Androids!

Check it out!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Best iPad Apps for ESL Teachers #1 - Evernote


Click to Download
For the next few posts, I am going to talk about iPad apps that I use that I think can be maximized for all ESL teachers or practically any teacher. If you are interested in an overview of many apps, Please check out my full presentation on The Best iPad apps for ESL teachers given at the CELEA conference in Philadelphia this year.

The first one I will promote is Evernote. Evernote is a note-taking productivity app that basically allows you to take photos, add audio, video, text, etc. and file and organize your notes.  The great thing about it is that it is searchable, so you don't have to look through all your notes each time to find the one you need. Also, it allows you to combine all of the above media types: audio, text, video, photo into one note.

Here are a few things that I use Evernote for:

1. I snap a picture of my test keys and never lose them.  Because I have a bad habit of putting all of my papers in a messy binder after class, Evernote helps me to be quick and efficient in grading even if I don't have that key since Evernote is available on all platforms.  It also gives me freedom from worrying about where I put the key when I have to give that test again in the future.

2. Give students a paragraph to read, give an oral feedback sheet by recording them in Evernote while you listen and mark a copy of the paragraph that they are reading. Take a photo and send it with the audio in the same note.  They can then go back over the mistakes that they made and see exactly where they made them while they hear themselves.

3. Record your spoken tests. It is very frustrating when you give a listening test that you dictate and because some students don't show up, you have to re-dictate the entire test in your after class time.   Instead, simply record yourself on Evernote and give an appropriate title. When that student has to make up the test, give them your iPad and a set of earphones and you'll save yourself time.

I have also heard of some teachers using Evernote for portfolios.  I have never done that, but I will look into it soon enough.

Please comment and let me know if you have any other interesting uses for Evernote that I haven't mentioned here.

Other apps for ESL/Language teachers.
  1. Evernote
  2. Skitch
  3. Flashcardlet
  4. CloudOn
  5. ShowMe
  6. DropMind Lite
  7. MailVu
  8. AppsGoneFree
  9. VoiceThread

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